http://www.visiontimes.com/?p=29582

The Story of the Monkey King

monkey king mural
Painted mural depicting Sun Wukong (in yellow) and other characters of 'Journey to the West.' (Image: wikimedia / CC0 1.0)

One of the most famous Chinese legends concerns the Monkey King, or Sun Wukong, known to the Chinese as a character from Journey to the West, one of China’s classic novels.

The Monkey King created havoc in Heaven, and even the celestial warriors couldn’t subdue him. With the help of Lord Lao Zi and the God Erlang Sheng, the best of Heaven’s generals, the Monkey King was finally caught, but nothing could hurt him. Not even a knife or axe could cut him, nor could lightning, thunder, or fire affect him.

The Monkey King and Jade Rabbit. (Image: wikimedia / CC0 1.0)

The Monkey King and Jade Rabbit. (Image: wikimedia / CC0 1.0)

Consequently, Lord Lao Zi put the Monkey King into his alchemy furnace and refined him for 49 days, but instead of burning him, the Monkey King emerged from the furnace more powerful than ever, having developed a pair of eyes that allowed him to see through what others normally couldn’t.

Not knowing what to do with the Monkey King, the Jade Emperor (Heaven’s ruler) invited the Buddha to conquer him. The Buddha smiled at Monkey King and said:

The Monkey King replied:

Famous Chinese legends Monkey King jade emperor

The Jade Emperor, painted during the Ming Dynasty. (Image: wikimedia / CC0 1.0)

The Buddha challenges the Monkey King

The Buddha said:

Looking at the Buddha’s palm, which was no more than a foot in length, the Monkey King smiled to himself and hastily said: “Are you sure you can handle this?” The Buddha said: “Yes.”

So the Monkey King stood in the middle of the Tathagata’s right palm, feeling that the palm was no bigger than a lotus leaf. He did one somersault and kept moving forward until he saw five huge pillars.

He had surmised that he had reached the end of the Heavens and to prove his trail, he urinated at the bottom of the first pillar, pulled out one of his hairs and said: “Change!” He then changed the hair into a big brush and wrote on the middle pillar the words: “The great Sage as high as Heaven visited here.”

After causing havoc in Heaven, the Monkey King tried to escape from the Buddha’s hand. The Buddha, however, turned over his palm and changed his five fingers into a mountain of the five elements to imprison the Monkey King for five centuries. (Image: Beria via flicker / CC BY-SA 3.0)

After causing havoc in Heaven, the Monkey King tried to escape from the Buddha’s hand. The Buddha, however, turned over his palm and changed his five fingers into a mountain of the five elements to imprison the Monkey King for five centuries. (Image: Beria via flicker / CC BY-SA 3.0)

The Monkey King is fooled by the Buddha

Th Monkey King returned to the centre of the Buddha’s right palm with another somersault and shouted to the Buddha: “I left and returned; you should now let the Jade Emperor give me his power.” The Buddha said: “You monkey, do you know that you are still in my palm?”

The Monkey King said: “You just don’t know that I went to the end of the Heavens and found five red pillars. I left a sign there. Do you dare to go with me to check?”

The Buddha said: “There is no need for me to go and check; you just look down and you will see.” The Monkey King looked and found that on the middle finger of the Buddha’s right hand, there was a line of words: “The great Sage as high as Heaven visited here.” And there was also a strong smell of urine in the Buddha’s hand.

The Monkey King was very surprised and said: “How can this be. I wrote these words on a pillar that supports Heaven, but how can it be on your finger? No, I don’t believe it. It is impossible.”

The Monkey King is suppressed under Wuxing Mountain

The Monkey King tried to escape from the Buddha’s hand, but he turned over his palm and changed his five fingers into a mountain of the five elements of gold, wood, water, fire, and soil, and suppressed the Monkey King under the mountain where he remained imprisoned for five centuries.

LIKE us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Subscribe to our weekly email

The Meaning of the Chinese Zodiac
A Famous Story in Chinese History: 'The Reunion of A Prime Minister and His Ragged Wife'